Speaking Of The German Automobile Industry

And German industry in general. They couldn’t laugh off Tesla. Now the punches are coming in hot and heavy.

DaimlerAuto

German Industrial Job Losses Top 80,000 With Daimler Cuts – Germany’s economy may have narrowly avoided a recession, but the pressure on the country’s industry shows no sign of abating.

Daimler AG said this week it will shed 10% of management positions at its Mercedes unit, lifting the tally of job cuts announced this year across Germany’s manufacturing sector to more than 80,000, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Companies from Volkswagen AG to Siemens AG are letting workers go as Germany’s powerful automotive industry struggles with a shift toward electrification and self-driving cars, and makers of machinery and robots are hit by slower exports and trade disputes. Makers of well-known German products such as Meissen porcelain and WMF kitchenware are also trimming their workforce.

Spend More Like We Do

Says the EU. We don’t always know what we’re spending it on but we sure know how to do it.

Waste

As “German industrial orders fell more than expected in August on weaker domestic demand, adding to signs that a manufacturing slump is pushing Europe’s largest economy into recession,” the EU Commission advises Germany to spend more.

And EU knows all about spending other people’s money. It spent nearly four billion euros last year alone on things it can’t even account for – and most of the things it can account for are wasteful enough.

Konjunkturschocks“ – EU-Kommission drängt Deutschland zu mehr Ausgaben

Brewing Has Always Been Big In Germany

An Industrial Crisis Is Brewing in Germany – The country’s position as the “engine of Europe” is under genuine threat.

Germany’s industrial sector contributes more than one-fifth of GDP and is usually a huge asset. Right now this export engine is pulling the economy down. Signs of distress are everywhere. German manufacturing activity is at a decade low, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing manager’s index. The Ifo Institute estimates that more than 5% of manufacturing companies have cut working hours and about 12% expect to do so during the next three months. German machinery orders declined 9% in the first six months of the year, according to the VDMA association, which represents the country’s engineers. In chemicals and pharmaceuticals, domestic production fell 6.5% in the first half of the year, while domestic car output has fallen 12% this year. Auto exports have dropped 14%.

German Of The Day: Freier Fall

That means freefall.

Freefall

German manufacturing reports industry ‘in freefall’ – Key survey points to weakest sentiment in nine years.

The Ifo Institute’s manufacturing business climate index slumped to minus 4.3 in July from positive 1.3 the previous month. The reading was the lowest in more than nine years and echoes a separate survey released on Wednesday that pointed to mounting troubles in Europe’s powerhouse economy.

“No improvement is expected in the short term, as businesses are looking ahead to the next six months with more pessimism.”

German Of The Day: Erfolglos

And while we’re at it, fassungslos und ahnungslos.

Fassungslos

That means unsuccessful, stunned and clueless, respectively. And all three apply to Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas, who just got a taste of the real world in Tehran during his pitiful attempt to salvage what is left of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran – for world peace, of course (and for German corporate interests in the region, coincidentally).

The German foreign minister appeared somehow surprised to discover that the mullahs are upset with Europe as “so far, we have not seen practical and tangible steps from the Europeans to guarantee Iran’s interests.” This is because, well, they can’t. If you aim at being weak long and hard  enough then weak you shall be. But there’s a bright side to this, I guess. German diplomacy would not be German diplomacy without the foreign ministers fervent hope that “ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue.” Good luck with that, Heiko.

By the way, anybody in Germany who repeats the word “dialogue” long and hard enough can become German foreign minister, too.

Außenminister Maas in Iran – Zwischen erfolglos und fassungslos.

I’ll Go With “Systematic Issue”

Specifically, it’s a systematic decline caused by systematic dishonesty and corruption.

Deutsche Bank

The simultaneous decline of Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank (DB), and Bayer has been nothing short of stunning. It raises the question as to whether it is merely coincidence, or if there is a larger systemic issue in play.

At Harvard’s 368th Commencement this past Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of her life experiences growing up during the Cold War in post World War II Europe.

On this cool and overcast day, she also gave advice to the graduates on how to live their lives. She obliquely mentioned the trade war and indirectly criticized President Donald Trump — which got a round of applause. She even quoted the German poet, Hermann Hesse, saying “in all beginnings dwells a magic force for guarding us and helping us to live.”

There was one topic, however, that Merkel didn’t broach, perhaps not surprising given the celebratory nature of the day. Merkel made no mention of the economic dysfunction and even decay that seems to be infecting Germany — particularly when it comes to Germany’s largest and most prominent companies. The simultaneous decline of Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank (DB), and Bayer has been nothing short of stunning. It raises the question as to whether it is merely coincidence, or if there is a larger systemic issue in play. Either way, something is rotten in the state of Germany.

German Of The Day: Naivität

That means naivete, as in being gullible or simple-minded.

China

Here’s an example: Industry Leaders Accuse Europe of Naivete with Respect to China – China’s aggressive approach in extending its economic power is causing concern among European companies. They demand a tougher approach from Brussels – and a convincing vision.

Good luck with that, European industry leaders. “Europe” doesn’t have time to deal with little issues like that at the moment, nor will it have any time in the near future. It is too occupied with self-inflicted problems like uncontrolled migration and Brexit (and the ensuing financial crisis) and placing the next batch of non-elected and unaccountable EU eurocrats in power. But once all that is taken care of, who knows? That little Chinese issue might just get tackled, too.

Die aggressive Vorgehensweise Chinas bei der Ausdehnung seiner Wirtschaftsmacht bereitet europäischen Unternehmern Sorgen. Sie fordern eine härtere Gangart von Brüssel – und eine überzeugende Vision.

Stop The Presses!

(Do they even have presses anymore?) This just in, folks: Some German industrial dynasties have a Nazi past!

Nazi

Holy freakin’ Scheiße! Once this leaks it’s going to ruin the reputation of all the other German industrial dynasties out there. With a Nazi past, I mean. You know, like every single German industrial dynasty that exists? Without exception?

I’m shocked. And stunned. Just like those dynastists in this particular German industrial dynasty who just found out about it themselves. For, like, the very first time. Honest.

A German industrial dynasty with big stakes in various international brands has admitted brutality towards slave labourers during Nazi rule.

A partner in JAB Holding, Peter Harf, said the Reimann family was shocked by links to Nazi abuses, discovered by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in archives.

“We were ashamed and turned white. You cannot gloss over any of that. Those crimes are abhorrent.”

We’re All Going To Die!

When the Brexit hits the fan, remember?

Brexit

It’s quite odd. Germans, notoriously nervous by nature, don’t seem terribly worried about Brexit these days at all. I guess there’s only so much you can worry about at any given time. Even if you’re a German.

Dead calm: Brexit not in top 10 of German businesses’ priorities – With five weeks to March 29th, Germans are worried – about everything but Brexit.

Commuters fear inner-city bans on diesel cars. Politicians are fighting over renovating – and digitising – German schools. Police are battling criminal Arab clans.

“I don’t know why Germany, all in all, is so relaxed about this.”

German Of The Day: Auftragsschwund

That means a decrease in orders.

Auftragsschwund

Did the boom just go boom?

Orders slid 1 percent from October, and posted a year-on-year decline of 4.3 percent, the biggest in more than six years. The monthly decline was partly due to aircraft orders, which had jumped in October, as well as weakness in the euro area.

While there are questions over the outlook for the German economy, the euro area’s biggest, the Bundesbank has long expressed confidence that it will overcome the slump seen in mid-2018. Responding to the factory data on Monday, Commerzbank said the decline “should not be over interpreted.”

“Wir blicken abwärts.”